Market gets extra time

An extra week is being added to this year’s Bath Christmas Market by B&NES as part of the council’s commitment – it says – to support stall holders and traders as they recover from the impact of Covid 19.

It is the first time in the market’s 20-year history that it will run for 25 days. This year it will launch with a residents’ night on November 24 and finish on Sunday December 19.

B&NES council leader, Councillor Kevin Guy, said: “I have asked that we extend Bath Christmas Market so it runs for an additional week. The market provides a huge boost not just to the stall holders but also to our retail, accommodation, hospitality and tourism sectors and this year it will play a critical role in helping business get back on its feet.   

“I’ve been talking to businesses and what I am hearing is ‘why does the market finish so soon in the run-up to Christmas?’ This year is an opportunity for us to trial an extension and run it closer to Christmas. I hope this will give more people the chance to visit the city and spend more time at the market which I’d say is one of the best, if not the best, in the world!”

Allison Herbert, chief executive of Bath Business Improvement District, today welcomed the decision and said: “The Christmas market is a very important fixture on Bath’s calendar, here at the BID we are delighted that the council is showing support for the city’s businesses who benefit and look forward to working with the team to make sure that Bath Christmas Market’s 20th year is one to celebrate after such a tough time.”

Bath Christmas Market is ranked in the top 10 in Europe and attracts 400,000 visitors per year, with an estimated spend in the city of £32.5 million in 2019.

This year the council is investing £27,200 on improvements to the chalets, which for Covid-safety measures, will be reduced from 205 to 161. This will allow more space for visitors to move through the event site during traditionally busy periods.

Pitch fees are being advertised at a reduced rate to help with the fact that people have struggled for many months and there will be some very short-term pitches for traders who are either starting out or have always wanted to sell at the market but maybe couldn’t make enough stock or are unable to attend the full  duration of the market.  

The proposed site will have a similar footprint to 2018/19 with the re-introduction of the areas around Bath Abbey.

Councillor Guy added: “We want to make sure our stallholders are supported as much as possible and while the event is not being marketed internationally, because of Covid, an exciting and enhanced online market will complement the physical event.

“Making sure the market is accessible and sustainable is very important for the council and I am pleased that we will have Mobility Helpers for visitors with accessibility requirements.

“The council will continue to monitor Government advice very closely throughout the planning and delivery stages of the market so please be assured

that the health and safety of visitors, residents and all those participating is, and always will be, the utmost priority.”

Express planning permission is not required this year, due to changes in legislation which allows councils to deliver market events.